John de Mol buys British horror movie production company
Friday, May 11th, 2007

A European consortium headed by Dutch based Cyrte Investments BV, a company owned by media magnate John de Mol, has acquired the legendary UK based Hammer Film Productions Limited, including its 295 title library for an undisclosed sum. The new management team is headed by Simon Oakes and Marc Schipper, formerly of Liberty Global Inc.

Spitfire Pictures founders Guy East and Nigel Sinclair will join the board as non-executive directors. Los Angeles based Spitfire Pictures has entered into a first look development and production pact with Hammer. The newly constituted Hammer group will have shareholders equity and facilities in excess of approximately $50m. It is the intention to leverage this initial capital in the near future to provide a significantly increased production financing capacity.

Hammer will return to film and television production after more than 30 years with an active development programme designed to emulate the best traditions of Hammer. The new management plans to aggressively reinvigorate the Hammer brand for a new generation of horror-lovers utilizing web and mobile technologies, whilst retaining Hammer’s significant heritage.

Hammer is best known for its gothic horror productions in the ’50s and ’60s, when it was the most innovative producer in the horror genre, enjoying global box-office success, and making the Hammer brand synonymous with horror. Hammer was responsible for the classic movie series of Dracula, Frankenstein, and Quatermass, forever imprinting its “Hammer House of Horror” slogan into the English language.

Simon Oakes: “We have been working on this deal for almost a year now, and are very proud at having brought together this incredibly talented group of people in combination with Hammer’s heritage. Hammer is a great British brand - we intend to take Hammer back into production and develop its global potential.”

Guy East: “It’s great to be back in business with Hammer again. Now is a perfect time to reinvigorate the brand.”

(Source: Hammer Films)